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LIDC – IOE Grantsmanship Seminar: A Round Up

May 31, 2019

On 16 May, LIDC and our core member institution, UCL Institute of Education (IOE), welcomed over 30 attendees to our Grantsmanship Seminar, which took place at the IOE. The Seminar aimed to highlight current grant opportunities, particularly in international development research, among post-PhDs.

LIDC Centre Director, Professor Claire Heffernan, opened the day with a warm welcome to our guests. She emphasised that LIDC’s role is to foster and support interdisciplinary research, and the Centre’s goal is to make successful Principal Investigators (PIs) and move co-PIs to PIs.

Overview of the UK funding landscape

Dr. Ana Antunes-Martins, LIDC’s Research Programme Manager, then gave an overview of the UK funding landscape. She stressed that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) was the parent organisation to research councils in the UK. It had a new vision for research, and seeks to ensure that research funding hears and includes the ultimate beneficiaries are heard and included in research funding. Ana also gave an overview of other major research funders such as Wellcome, Leverhulme Trust, and helpful tips for choosing an appropriate funding call. She noted that LIDC could provide support for researchers who want to apply for grants such as write-up workshops and meetings.

Tips for writing a successful funding application

Following Ana’s presentation, Steve Morrison, IOE and SLASH Research Facilitator, ULC spoke about writing a successful funding application. He summarised the research support services that IOE provided from workshops to feedback on applications. Furthermore he called on attendees to write an easy to follow application without technical jargon and be clear on what the project would achieve.


Afterwards Loleta Fahad, Research Operations Manager, IOE delivered a presentation on successful budgeting in grant applications. She stressed that the research budget must match the application and the importance of demonstrating value for money. Additionally Loleta stressed that applications needed to understand funders’ expectations and provide reasonable costs that were related to research.

Presentations from grant holders

After an interactive group activity, we heard from three current grant holders. Dr Mandy Sadan, Researcher, SOAS discussed her project ‘Sustainable Lives in Scarred Landscapes’, which examined the jade trade in Myanmar/China and won a £300,000 grant from the British Academy. She emphasised that attendees should be careful regarding commitments, as they needed to move on to lead their own projects after completing their PhDs. Furthermore Mandy explained that applicants needed to present complicated research in a way that lay audiences could understand.

Following this, Dr Amy Harrison, Lecturer in Psychology, IOE, spoke about her project ‘Child and young adult mental health: the underpinning aetiology of self-harm and eating disorders’, which won a £300,000 grant from the MRC. She provided helpful advice to prospective applicants such as taking on all feedback and persistence in looking for the right call for the right idea.

Our last presenter, Dr Mel Bunce, Reader, City, discussed her project ‘What is humanitarian news?’, which received a grant of £175,000 from the AHRC. Mel stressed that applicants need to prioritise their teams and the spirit of collaboration, as well as asking research partners about their needs.

We are grateful to IOE for their partnership on this Seminar and our attendees for their engagement and enthusiasm. Our especial thanks goes to our speakers for their excellent presentations.

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